Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 05:2 (Fall 1984)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Girdlestones Synonyms of the Old Testament, edited by Donald R. White. Third edition. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983. Pp. 388. No price.

The reissue and updating of Robert Girdlestone’s well-known Synonyms of the Old Testament forms part of Baker’s Bible Language Library, a series designed to give readers of the English Bible access to the languages of the original text. This third edition of the classic work features the crossreferencing of each Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek word commented upon by Girdlestone with the corresponding entry number of Strongs Exhaustive Concordance. Under Baker’s scheme, reference to Strongs Exhaustive Concordance allows the researcher further entrance into selective lexicons of the OT and NT, a process by which serious students of the English Bible can gain considerable help in understanding the riches of the Scriptures.

The several words and quotations in foreign languages in Girdlestone’s earlier editions have also been translated into English, which presents yet another helpful feature for the reader who has, for instance, long been mystified by some of Girdiestone’s Latin citations. All of this has been packaged in an attractive book that includes a most readable typeface, a pleasing format, and a few changes that reflect the spelling and pronunciation practices of contemporary (American) English.

The editor has also added vowel pointings to the Hebrew words, formerly given only in consonantal form. It is at this point that a word or two of criticism seems in order. Having added the vowel points to the Hebrew/Aramaic words, the editor has also provided a full transliteration. Although this is a commendable undertaking, the transliteration system is a strange one, at best. Not only are marking conventions normally applied only to plene forms utilized for simple long vowels, but with the plene forms the consonant itself is also included (e.g., ʾĕlôhîym rather than the standard ʾĕlôhîm). The result must surely be confusing for English readers who do not understand the employment of Hebrew consonants in plene vowel forms. One also wonders why a similar system of transliteration was not used for the many Greek words in the book. The failure to translate the German words richten and urteilen (p. 275n) illustrates inconsistency at another point.

Another addition to the book is a short glossary of terms important to the reading of the book. While any set of such terms is always selective, one would hope that the information thus given would be totally accurate (e.g., the definitions of “Masoretic text,” “Syriac”) and free from con...

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